Category Archives: Family & Work

The Haves & Have Nots of Paid Family Leave

Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, May 2017

In the United States today, paid family leave is an elite benefit: 94% of low-income working people have no access to paid family leave. Millions of Americans don’t get even a single day of paid time for caregiving. 1 in 4 new moms in the U.S. is back at work just ten days after childbirth. While public discourse often focuses on income inequality, there is another critical way families experience inequality: the inability to be with their babies and families for the most important moments of their lives.

Over the last year, a slate of the largest employers in the United States have announced paid family leave policies: Starbucks, Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), and others. While the media has largely heralded these announcements as a boon for working families, most of these benefits are only accessible for people who work in white-collar corporate jobs, leaving out the hourly employees who comprise the vast majority of a company’s workforce. In fact, overall access to paid family leave in the United States has actually declined over the last decade. We’ve conducted independent research to uncover the paid family leave policies at the largest employers in the country to understand who has access to family leave, who doesn’t, and what that says about the need for change in both corporate and public policy.

Many of the companies that employ the most people have policies that provide significantly more paid family leave to corporate employees, while offering little — or nothing at all — to hourly/field/part-time workers…..

Related:
Left Out: How Corporate America’s parental leave policies discriminate against dads, LGBTQ+ and adoptive parents
Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, June 2017

In America, Parental Leave Is Still A Class Issue
Source: Lea Rose Emery, Brides, September 12, 2017

….Unfortunately, Starbucks is correct when they argue that they provide better benefits than some. Walmart, Kroger, Nike, and Marriott are just some of the corporations offering no paid leave at all. Yum! Brands, owner of chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, employs hundreds of thousands of US workers, and none of the staff working the restaurants get any paid leave. Yet birth mothers working in the headquarters get 16 weeks. At Amazon, it’s 20 weeks for full-time birth mothers and nothing for those in the warehouse. While all parents deserve adequate paid leave (a guarantee in so many other countries), there is something especially perverse about a company recognizing the need for its corporate employees while denying it to its lower paid staff—people who are much more likely to have trouble affording child care to being with.

The worst part? It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to treat your retail and corporate employees equally, to give part-time workers the same benefits of those working full-time while still flourishing. Wells Fargo and Nordstrom give all new mothers at least 12 weeks of paid leave, though they do give less to fathers and adoptive parents. Bank of America and Ikea give all new parents 16 weeks. These are huge companies with huge profits. If they can do it, why can’t others?….

A Childcare Agenda for the Left

Source: Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo, Dissent, Fall 2017

It has to be taken as a sign of progress that the presidential candidates of both major political parties talked about providing child care and paid family leave in their campaigns, for the first time in U.S. history. But despite this progress, the Trump administration’s child-care proposal is not comprehensive enough to be of much use to the large numbers of low-income families in great need. Trump’s child-care proposal is—surprise, surprise—another tax giveaway to upper-income taxpayers, disguised as an increased tax credit for struggling low-income families. The increase is vanishingly small for low earners. In response to Trump’s plan, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott drafted the Child Care for Working Families Act. A summary of the bill, expected to be introduced in full tomorrow, shows a more comprehensive plan for high-quality early learning and affordable child care.

Subsidized child care and paid family leave are crucial for American families because they have the potential to increase disposable family income and reduce poverty and inequality in a meaningful way. They are also essential for achieving gender equality, key for children’s well-being, and a stimulus to the economy. For all these reasons, any progressive or Democratic Party platform must include wide-ranging child care and paid family leave proposals. Trump’s plan doesn’t get us there, but as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families…..

Related:
2 Million Parents Forced to Make Career Sacrifices Due to Problems with Child Care
Source: Leila Schochet and Rasheed Malik, Center for American Progress, September 13, 2017

The Motherhood Wage Penalty by Work Conditions: How Do Occupational Characteristics Hinder or Empower Mothers?

Source: Wei-hsin Yu, Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Mothers are shown to receive lower wages than childless women across industrial countries. Although research on mothers’ wage disadvantage has noted that the extent of this disadvantage is not universal among mothers, it has paid relatively little attention to how the structural characteristics of jobs moderate the price women pay for motherhood. Using data from 16 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that began in 1997, we examine how the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers varies by occupational characteristics. Deriving hypotheses from three prominent explanations for the motherhood wage penalty—stressing work-family conflict and job performance, compensating differentials, and employer discrimination, respectively—we test whether this penalty changes with an occupation’s exposure to hazardous conditions, schedule regularity, required on-the-job training, competitiveness, level of autonomy, and emphasis on teamwork. Results from fixed-effects models show that the wage reduction for each child is less in occupations with greater autonomy and lower teamwork requirements. Moreover, mothers encounter a smaller penalty when their occupations impose less competitive pressure. On the whole, these findings are consistent with the model focusing on job strain and work-family conflict, adding evidence to the importance of improving job conditions to alleviate work-family conflict.

Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, Issue Brief, June 2017

From the press release:
The nation’s aging population, increases in demand for family members to care for loved ones, and gender gaps in labor force participation are powerful forces aligning to make time for family care and serious personal medical issues essential components of any national paid family and medical leave plan. These are some of the findings of a new report released today, following the inclusion of a very limited paid parental leave proposal in the Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal, and one week after a bipartisan group of scholars came together for the first time ever to announce core paid leave principles.

The report, Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children, was prepared by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The group analyzed research on the health, financial and economic effects of paid leave policies, along with demographic and labor force data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis highlights the significant deficiencies of public policy proposals for paid leave that exclude certain types of care, and specific states in which providing for family care and serious personal medical needs would be especially important.

Work sick or lose pay? The high cost of being sick when you don’t get paid sick days

Source: Elise Gould and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, June 28, 2017

From the summary:
There is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days in the United States. For workers who fall ill or whose families depend on them to provide care in the event of an illness, this means sick days can be incredibly costly. Taking needed sick time means workers go without pay or must show up at work while sick and delay seeking treatment for themselves or their dependents.

This paper examines recent trends in paid sick time and highlights some of the costs to workers and their families when they are not given the opportunity to earn paid sick time. By quantifying how lack of paid sick days threatens the economic security of low- and moderate-income families, it adds new data to debates over paid sick days measures in states and cities and the need for federal legislation. Over the last several years seven states, the District of Columbia, and 31 other localities have passed paid sick days laws, five of which are set to go into effect this July. Ballot initiatives are on the horizon and some policymakers are calling for a federal guarantee to allow workers to earn paid sick time. ….
Related:
Press release

Elder Care Is a Looming Crisis. Hawaii Is Facing It Head-On

Source: Christina Cauterucci, Slate, Better Life Lab blog, June 5, 2017

…. If Gov. David Ige signs this legislation, people who work at least 30 hours a week outside the home and serve their kupuna as primary caregivers will be eligible for up to $70 a day in help from trained home aides. The Kupuna Caregiver Assistance Program would help a family caregiver continue to work outside the home, get some necessary breaks in caregiving work, and give her the money to pay a fair wage to the care workers she hires. It’s an important step toward meeting the needs of a fast-aging population and the family members who are expected—but too often financially unequipped—to shoulder the burden…..
Related:
Hawaii Long-Term Health-Care Bill Serves as National Model
Source: Rachel M. Cohen, American Prospect, January 12, 2016

Hawaii legislators are tackling the nation’s elder care crisis head-on with a bill that would offer universal long term care to the state’s senior citizens.

Paid Family Leave in the United States

Source: Sarah A. Donovan, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R44835, May 24, 2017

…. This report provides an overview of paid family leave in the United States, summarizes state-level family leave insurance programs, notes paid family leave policies in other advanced-economy countries, and notes recent federal proposals to increase access to paid family leave. ….

Workers Need a Bill of Rights

Source: Andrew Strom, OnLabor blog, May 24, 2017

Except for about a month in the summer of 2009 when the Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, for the entire twenty-first century any proposal to substantially increase workers’ rights at the national level has had to be prefaced by the comment that, “of course, this is not politically feasible now.” But rather than just spending the next four years fending off misguided Republican legislation, I think it’s time to step back and focus on principles that should guide workplace legislation. Toward that end, here are some thoughts on a potential workplace bill of rights.

There might be some other rights that should be included in this list, and maybe folks have ideas about better ways to phrase the various rights. But, I think it would be helpful for the labor movement, worker advocates, and the Democratic party to start talking about this bill of rights in order to refocus our discussion about jobs. The measure of a good job, whether it is in manufacturing or the service sector, should be whether it provides these rights to workers. In addition, we should be thinking about what changes we need to see in our laws to ensure that all workers enjoy these basic rights on the job. Some of these issues can be addressed at the state level, although of course, that would mean that these rights would exist in only a handful of states. Here’s my proposed worker bill of rights – let the debate begin…..

Equal Pay for Mothers Is Critical for Families

Source: Jasmine Tucker, National Women’s Law Center, Fact Sheet, May 2017

From the summary:
More than 22.8 million mothers with children under 18 are in the workforce, making up nearly 1 in 6 – or 15.5 percent – of all workers. The great majority of these mothers work full time. In 2015, 42 percent of mothers were sole or primary family breadwinners, while 22.4 percent of mothers were co-breadwinners, meaning families are increasingly relying on mothers’ earnings.

While women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, the wage gap between mothers and fathers is even larger. Mothers working full time, year round outside the home are paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, a gap that translates to a loss of $16,000 annually. The wage gap between mothers and fathers exists across education level, age, location, race, and occupation, and compromises families’ economic security….